Update on referrals from Cleveland Police and Crime Panel
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has returned four referrals regarding allegations against Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner to the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel.
Any indication a criminal offence may have been committed by a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) must, by law, be referred by the Panel to the IOPC to determine whether the matter should be investigated.
As set out in legislation, we only investigate serious complaints or conduct matters involving criminal allegations relating to PCCs and their deputies.
Following a meeting of the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel on Thursday (16 December), we received a referral regarding the alleged conduct of Mr Turner, bringing the total number of referrals linked to him to eight. In addition to the four referrals returned to the Panel today (22 December), one is subject to an ongoing investigation and three were previously returned to the Panel following our assessment.
Due to the significant public interest in these matters, and to avoid any confusion, we are providing the following update on our involvement:
- We were made aware of a serious non-recent criminal allegation in October, which we determined should be investigated. Avon and Somerset Police is carrying this out, under our direction and control, and a senior investigating officer was appointed on November 22.
- We received two referrals relating to historic theft allegations against Mr Turner. We found insufficient evidence that a criminal offence may have taken place in one of those matters, while the other was investigated by police at the time and a police caution subsequently issued. As such a further investigation by the IOPC is not required. Both matters were returned to the Panel in November.
- A complaint that a police caution received in relation to one of the theft matters had not been declared during the PCC election process was also returned to the Panel in November after we found there was no legal requirement for candidates to declare any police cautions they may have received. As such, there was no evidence an offence may have been committed.
- In December, we received four referrals that we assessed to determine whether an investigation was required. They relate to: an alleged assault in 2019; allegedly providing inaccurate information to the media; and two complaints from the same individual regarding alleged data protection breaches. Based on the available evidence, we did not find sufficient indication that any criminal offences may have taken place and they have now been returned to the Panel and Mr Turner has been made aware.
When assessing referrals, we are looking for any indication that the evidence and public interest contained within them meets the legal threshold for an investigation to be necessary. When a referral is returned, it is for the Police and Crime Panel to deal with any matters in a reasonable and proportionate manner.